Vernon K. Robbins

Sociorhetorical Interpretation

Emory Studies in Early Christianity

Rhetoric of Religious Antiquity

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Recitation in Luke 17:26-27

Socio-Rhetorical Examples

Definition of recitation.

A recitation may summarize a span of text that includes various episodes. Luke 17.26-27 reads:

26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of man. 27 They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

This recitation presents a summary of the biblical text in Genesis 6.1-24. It is informative to see what the recitation adds and what it leaves out of the biblical account. There is no reference to 'eating and drinking' in the biblical account. This appears to be a result of the characterization of the Son of man's 'eating and drinking' (Matt 11.19/Luke 7.33). The reference to 'marrying and being given in marriage' summarizes the following statements in Genesis 6.2, 4:

The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose ... The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.

The recitation in the New Testament does not mention that the marrying was between 'sons of God' and 'daughters of men'. It also does not mention that Noah and all of his household went into the ark (Gen. 7.1, 7). The recitation makes it sound like Noah might have survived alone. The focus on Noah alone is surely the result of the comparison between 'his days' and 'the days of the Son of man'.


From: Vernon K. Robbins (1996) The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse: Rhetoric, Society and Ideology, London: Routledge: 106.

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